Saturday, 7 July 2007

Do you know that today is 07-07-07?

“Do you know,” said a voice from behind her, “that today is 7-7-77?”

“Oh, really?” replied the young lass as she looked up from her old trusty typewriter, the intro in mid sentence, her heart missing a beat and looked appreciatively as if that piece of information was the most important announcement since man landed on the moon.

It was the beginning of what was to be a series of Do you know….? For not long after that , before she knew it, the lass found herself swept off her feet to a foreign land that was to be their home for the next thirty years and more.

“Do you know,” said the familiar voice again, “that today is the shortest day of the year?” It was 21st December 1979 and what must have been the coldest day ever for the young bride who had just landed in London, eyes swollen after a marathon weep all the way from Changi Airport to Heathrow, after leaving behind her beloved mother and siblings for this new life in a foreign land.

“After today, the day will get longer by two minutes everyday,” he offered helpfully as her eyes began to well up again. She wanted so much to believe him that the days will get longer and brighter, that there will be leaves on the awkward branches of trees which looked so menacing in the dark. And that there will be flowers blooming in the garden. No, no one had prepared her for the bleak winter and the short gloomy days and most of all no one warned her that the toilet seat can be the coldest place in the whole flat. She could have done with one of those “Do you know…that the toilet seat is very cold in the mornings?” or for that matter at any time of the day during winter!

And sure enough, the days got longer by two minutes each day, the flowers bloomed and the young bride who later got used to cold toilet seats, no longer cried as easily, except if you count the time when she first heard Sharifah Aini’s song being played at the Bunga Raya restaurant in Westbourne Grove. She choked back on her crab sambal and yearned for home.

“Do you know,” he said, looking up at the magnificient designs on the ceiling of the Harrods food department, “that most people come here to look at the ceiling?” That, she agreed immediately as not many people, herself included, could afford the astronomical prices Mr Al Fayed was charging for his mackerel. She only went there looking for lemongrass and found some powdered stuff which cost as much as three meals complete with deserts at her favourite mamak stall in Bunga Tanjung.

The young lass was very much on the learning curve, exploring the new world that had presented itself when she said yes. Did she know how to cut chicken properly or measure the water for the rice? No. Did she know that she was not to wash keropok before frying or not to boil the dried beehoon in hot boiling water till they became too soggy to make fried beehoon goreng? No. So, these were other areas of “Do you knows…” which were more practical that she obediently noted.

She soon put away the menu from Khan’s restaurant that she used for emergency take-aways when there were visitors. She began to have more confidence in her culinary skills, encouraged by her husband who never failed to wipe clean his plate of rice even though the consistency of the curry was never quite right or the sambal was too salty. But she was learning.

“Do you know, that is just a story?” he said annoyingly as she wept uncontrollably watching Little House on The Prairies and repeats of The Sound of Music.

Even as they drove along the countryside as she experienced her first summer and the first whiff of fresh air, the familiar question was asked many times. ”Do you know,” he asked pointing to the green fields, “Do you know that when the cows are sitting down, it will soon rain?”

And when the children came they too were not spared these trivia which kept them very much amused during car rides and train journeys. Silently she smiled, listening to the Do you knows....?

And today, on 07-07-07, thirty years later, she reflected back to that moment in the busy newspaper office when someone said to her; “Do you know.........?”

57 comments:

wonda said...

Do you know that yours truly MCC don't know that today is 07-07-07 until she read your post and looked at the calendar. Ah, another lovely post reflecting on the sweet past. BUT I know that I am probably not No.1 to post this commment. ;-)

Kak Teh said...

Alice, but do you know that you are the first one? Happy 0-07-07!

ubisetela said...

i didn't realize it either! those are sweet stories k.teh.. thanks for sharing.

J.T. said...

Beautiful post. Sweet memories. I can't help but recall events in my life on those specific dates you mentioned.

Do you know on 7-7-77, I was in K.B., Kelantan thinking it was so cool that my godfather's birthday fell on that date? On 21st Dec 1979, while you were feeling sad in London, I was feeling sad because we had just moved to Klang about a week earlier. It was my sister's 8th birthday and no party. I missed my friends.

... and on 07-07-07, there is a realisation that so many years have passed. Parents are gone, godfather passed away too. My sister now has her own family and I am married and living in a land far away from familiar Malaysia.
Life goes on.

Happy 07-07-07. Now I eagerly await 08-08-08. :D

wonda said...

Yay! I am no.1! Hope Ilene reads this. Hehe! With your comment moderation, it's hard to tell. BTW, Kak Teh, if you change the post publishing time publishing to 00.07 it will be 07-07-07-07! :D

Kak Teh said...

ubi - thanks.

JT. yes, life goes on - i didnt realise its been thirty years since he asked that question.

wonda -i did change - thanks for the suggestion.

AHIRUDIN ATTAN said...

7.7.77? whoa, I was in Sec 4, somewhere in Singapore. It's amazing that I can't remember what I did on that day. Well, 30 years is a long time, Ah. But seems like yesterday, too.

Today, 7.7.7: Spent all day with the kids. They probably won't remember this day in 30 years. I won't too, most probably. But who cares, uh?

My salam to your kids and the man.

Kak Elle said...

kak teh a touching story:)7-7-07 I told the staff I am going to ROM with or without the groom .....hahaha....just kidding.

d'arkampo said...

aahhh..kak teh.

lovely.

The seven chronicles of Kak Teh.

lovely...

NJ said...

Dear Kak Teh,

Do you know that reading your entry here makes me think, makes me smile, makes me truly appreciate life regardless of the perceived adversities?

Thanks for the amazing piece, as always, Kak Teh.

Kak Teh said...

Rocky, on 7.7.77 maybe you were writing essays for your teacher, and then you sharpened those skills which made Roky's Bru what it is today.

Aaah, u see i am a hopeless romantic.
I remember words, letters, gestures.

Hope you had a nice time with the kids. Mine disappeared on this day -one is in Spain, two at work, taufiq went out with friends. So, we were on our own...with the cats.

kak elle, do tell me when..hahaha!
mesti nak announce satu cyberworld.

Kak Teh said...

aaah, adikku d'arkampo! dah lama menghilang. Alahai , kronikal orang-orang yang er...lanjut usua...memang banyak nak cerita, kan?

NJ, thanks for the kind words.

ruby ahmad said...

Hi Kak Teh,

On 7-7-07, I was at a wedding. I know both mothers of bride and bride groom. The bride was head girl of TKC and the bride groom, head boy of MCKK. Can you imagine how disciplined their kids will be..he he.

Kak Teh said...

ruby , wow - it is still happening! TKC and MCKK! yes, I can imagine. and children will be brainy too!

k.d said...

Awww...kTeh...lovely entry...

Reminiscing how you too got together...

7/7/77...hahahha...umur saya baru 3 tahun...Don't know ujung pangkal of anything. Don't know where I was, either in Malaysia or in Canada with parents when dad doing his final year in masters (maybe)

7/7/7...was out with hubby and kids in Newbridge house Park in Co-Dublin..

Kak Teh said...

kd!! hahaha - too much information! what to do...can 't run away from the fact that yes, I was there at that time...and that sort of gave my age away.

Theta said...

Hehe...Your other half reminds me of my twin's husband. He's Mr Trivia himself. I got my fair share of "Do you know..." too!

He's also Mr. Corny Punchlines....you know, those jokes where you need insider information or to be well-versed in pop culture to get it...

I'm sure that's where he parts company from your other half ;)

7.7.77? I'd be in PJ Section 14.

Kak Teh said...

Theta, oh no! he is Mr Trivia AND Mr Corny Punchlines too....They cld be twins you know!

Now, it is like,"Do you know....? Ya, ya., ya......whatever! hahahaha!

ruby ahmad said...

Hi Kak Teh,

I laughed reading your response to Theta..'Now, it is like,"Do you know....? Ya, ya., ya......whatever! hahahaha!'....tak lah, Kak Teh. One would still listen even after all these years. I know so. That's how it is, if hubby is avid reader and aware and interested in many things and enjoys sharing with wifey, hubby would remain interesting even after all these years..he he.

Anonymous said...

Hi kak teh,


Salamualaikum.I love to read and visits your blog. And i have linked it too. Hope you don't mind.

wonda said...

Came back to tell you that I had an amusing 07-07-07!

AuntyN said...

salam kak teh. Just to let you know on 7.7.07 I am still alive and kicking. Kicking apa? Apa lagi kalau tak penyapu, mop dan penyakar. kicking the sampah at home. Will try to YM you soon.

Mama Rock said...

kak teh, do you know that i was 11 on 7.7.77? hahah now i feel so ancient :)

Anonymous said...

10.21am (Malaysian Time) on 07.07.07, I became a mother-in-law. Kawan2 menghantar 'congratulatory" messages and pesanan 'jangan jadi nyonya mansur'. Ish ish..
~irene~

melayudilondon said...

KT, I tak tahu psl lembu tu. hehehehehehe

zabs said...

Salam Kak Teh,
On 7.7.77, I was in UK for a second time, attending a 6 months course in Plymouth. Kenangan mengusik jiwa, Kak Teh.

Raghu Ram Prasad said...

07-07-07 is the lucky day in Indian organisation...many events like marraiges, child births are taking places ......really a wonderful day...

Ordinary Superhero said...

Thirty years ago I was in primary 2. On 070707, I had an entry about it.

Blabarella said...

On 7.7.77, I believe I should have been running around in a t-shirt and knickers without any shoes, either in our rented house in Sea Park or in the army camp in Kuching. :) How long ago that was.

Your tales of nostalgia are always able to generate so much emotion from its readers (moi included). How do you do that, KT? It's amazing!

msiagirl said...

Hi Kak Teh! I criedlah, having done some of those things moving to England - but ya - those cold toilet seats! Glad you're doing OK and keep safe in London. :)

Judy said...

Kak Teh, do you know that I have been so busy that I have not had time to visit your blog until today?

AND....did you know I am always interested in trivia truths?

AG sure taught you a lot of 'Did you knows'!

Little House on the Prairie was based on a true story of Laura Ingalls, yes? Did you know I too cried on some episodes of Little House on the Prairie? :))

Apandi Reviews said...

Lovely, nostalgic, funny. Washing keropok before frying - I might just tell a few soul that it made the keropok taste better, kah kah kah.

The cow sitting down before rain is a gem.

Do you know, if you are in dead calm at sea that a terrible strom is coming your way ?

Tunku Halim said...

Kak Teh - I used to go to Khans Indian restaurant too at Westbourne Grove. Ah, the memories!

Just want to mention that I've launched a competition on my blog sites. There are lots of books to be won!

Hope you don't mind me publicising this on your blog, Kak Teh :)

mak andeh said...

070707, me and kids embarked on a new adventure in our lives. Hopefully it's for the better.

a malaysian in riyadh said...

Kak Teh
Do you know .. I’ve seen the elegant photos of your family in Warkah Eropah. Must say your dressing (when not in baju kurung) is so Lady Di.
Luuuv Hafiz’s antics on Hari Raya Day at Regent Park and how both of you teased our Sasterawan Negara to strike a pose outside Ann Summers shop, which is a far cry from a Laura Ashley shop. Wow, your presence really made the difference to our Sasterawan Negara’s tour of London. “Pengembaraan saya di tengah kota London biasanya hidup semula” when you are available, so said the great author of Salina.
aMiR

Kak Teh said...

ruby,
hehe - after thirty years you get to hear repeats!!

anonymous 4.10 - yes,please do. But how do i know which is your blog?

wonda @ alice, yes, that was hilarious - those signboards and toilets in the cemetery!!

Kak Teh said...

auntyn - Alhamdulillah selagi kita boleh kick, kita kick, auntyN!

mamarock, if you feel ancient, how do you think I feel? A right old dinausor!!! hehehe!

irene, congratulations from me too! dan pesanan penaja - Jangan jadi Nyonya mansur! I have a feeling if i am mother in law - i am certainly nyonya mansur material.

melayulondon, lain kali bila bersiar-siar tengok apa lembu buat. Kalau dia duduk, siapkan payung!

Kak Teh said...

zabs, welcome to my humble blog. on 7-7-77 you were in Plymouth? and for the second time? wow...when was the first time? At that time England was no where in my horizon. The furthest was singapore and maybe Bali.

OSH - adoi...pls dont remind me.

blabs, were you running around in seluar jerut? I suspect by then, ladybirds or marks and spencers musthave made their way there. In our time, it was from left over materials .

Kak Teh said...

raghu ram prasad, thanks for visiting. yes, an important day indeed.

msiagirl - hah! you too gor the cold toilet seat treatment!! I think it is the most efficient way to torture someone.

Judy, did you know that we finished your cakes, yes both of them yesterday? and do you know they are very good?

Kak Teh said...

apandi, psst, dont tell anyone abt the keropok. Until today I can hear the echoes of laughter coming from my siblings!

Tunku, Khan's of westbourne grove remains my kitchen away from home. The food is consistently good. yes, , silakan Tunku - i have also linked it.

makandeh, all th ebest to you and the brood - see you online soon!!

Kak Teh said...

aMiR, hehehe - So Lady Di?? I can only recall that picture on the waterloo bridge , I think...aaah, those were the days. Yes, when he was around, we had a whale of a time doing the hari raya rounds. I must search for the book again!

zabs said...

Salam kak teh,
I did my Cadet's Training in Dartmouth, for a year (during '73-'74). Join the navy and see the world, so they say. It is true enough for me. Tetapi tentang a wife at every port tu tak betul lah. One is good enough, InsyaAllah.

lis said...

Lovely writing Kak Teh. It's all about style. Great when all of the sudden everyone reveal their 7.7.77....Moi? Was at primary school, hair in plaits, Bata shoes, Enid Blyton...Lis

hedgehog said...

Puan,

Cold toilet seats? Ahhh, you had them changed to wooden ones in that flat.

Kak Teh said...

zabs,, oh jadi awal sangat lah you dah melihat dunia. Lucky you! I have interviewed many old sailors and yes, i do know abt the saying women at every port. Alhamdulillah seorang pun cukup, kan.

lis, i can believe you - still running around playing tag, i suppose!

hedgehog, dont tell me you were there?? I had them changed only at the other flat...hehe - yes, I did ..to a mahogany one. But still cold!

leesejudy@gmail.com said...

Kak Teh, do you know that I really like this 'Do you know' game?
Do you know that I would really love to bake you a banana cake because I think your AG would like it?
See you sometime.....1/9/07??

Kak Teh said...

leesejudy,
Do you know that you are one of the nicest bloglady I have ever met and one selfless and kind woman...and you know what I mean. And do you know that if you make my AG the banana cake, he will only get to eat half of it. Yes, let's make a date and will see you on 1st September. Why dont yous ell some of yr cakes there? Get a stall!! sell yr nasi ayam!

U.Lee said...

Hello Kak Teh, wow! Love your posting. Must be you, huh?
Couldn't help smiling re the cold toilet seat.
Ha ha.
I can imagine the cold as England those days suma pakai radiators for heating too.
I stayed at Malaysia Hall, Bryanston Sq tiga bulan and the first snowfall thought someone throwing pieces of paper at me from upstairs. My first sight of snow.
Have always loved London.
You have a great day, Kak Teh, Lee.

Kak Teh said...

lee, (If you insist) the toilet seats are still cold, but I think our skin have grown thicker - hahaha!

anyway, do come down to olde London town- it is still the same. You'll know the streets, the landmarks - they are all still there.
Oh, but no more malaysia hall in Bryanston square - it has moved.

ms.lamb chop said...

Liz....do you know that I wasn't born yet on 07.07.77..ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha......don't throw mee bandung at me :)

Do you know that I can't skype yet as my notebook seems not to agree with the wireless thingy at Kak Long's place. I'll go get more canggih gadget soon that does not require connection with the house system. But again, do you know that if it is too canggih, I won't be able to use it :) ha ha ha

Do you know that I have been back for almost 2 weeks and been hearing the calling from the jumping & walking lamb chops..."Baby come back...."...ha ha ha........

Bapak is good and was so happy to see me :) Cheerio

Fauziah Ismail said...

Salam Kak Teh
I don't remember what I did that particular day in 1977 but I know for sure that was the year I sat for my LCE.
My six year old nephew, Danial, is now in the "Angah, tau tak ..." mood. In Standard One, he thinks he has learned a lot of things to be shared with his aunt.
To humour him, I will always say, "Iya, Angah tak tau pun ..." while the kakak will always teased him, "Adik, Angah kan dah tau semua tu. Angah kan dah besar."
I have to tell him about the cow and rain thing. He can used that on his Abah, Ibu, Nenek and Kakak.

Kak Teh said...

ms lambchop aka samantha, do you know that I didnt know you are already back in malaysia? and had we skyped we would have known what we didnt know? Do you know that I am still so busy up to my eyeballs that I cant even update this Do you know entry?

Send salam to Bapak. Love him lots.

Fauziah,
Oh yr nephew is at that stage, aaah! Yes, we need to equip ourselves with a small book when faced with little nieces and nephews like that.
Yes, do tell him abt the cow - but be prepared to get asked this: What if some cows are sitting down and some cows are standing up?
In good rtm rtm weather reporting style in those days, it would mean: Hujan di sana sini.

demonsinme said...

Madam KT:

Forgive me in advance for flooding your comment section with my words. This poem I wrote, are the summary of a question that have lingered in my head for quit some time. I really need to find an answer, at least one that would satisfy me for a short while.

If you don't mind, do share with your insight. I ask of this as it is my believe that you and others that ask are among the best enlughtened minds that I have ever had the chance to encounter.

I understand if u don't and wish thus deleting it.

I thank you in advance.

WHY AM I DEAD?

Hey mister,
why so somber?
the world is full with colour,
live up enjoy the splendour.

It's because I'm dead.

No mister you can't be dead,
your face id still red,
look, even that wound still bled,
and you look like a man well fed.

Really, I died.

Mister, why do you lie,
I can tell from from eyes,
I know you have just cry,
how could you say you have died?

Boy here's why,

Could you feel that the air is so dry,
and the soil beneath your covered with sly,
and both fought seeking to be beautified,
by seeping the river's blood dry,
there's no more space for me forehead to shy.

Besides, I have nothing to sing.

no, not even one of 'em shining things,
and me belly is no larger than a string,
you know how 'em bitches love those shiny shiny things,
on the head and the bellies of a dying king.

Yup, you're dead.
and I better fled,
being with you is most definately bad,.

Hey, I did told you am dead.

Anonymous said...

Wow...you and Wan Hulaimi must be big fans of James Bond. Numerical loving couple.

Usman Awang's sajak and the love that began with the special date of 7, what a romantic way of celebrating your heavenly life with Hulaimi in London.

Wishing you two the best in this life and hereafter.

By the way, this is my first surf into your blog though I knew about it long time ago.

Salam hormat dari HAMZAH SIDEK to you and Hulaimi.

Kak Teh said...

Encik Hamzah, sungguh terharu nampak komen you di sini. Tak sangka ada yang membaca. Terima kasih kerana kata-kata yang indah untuk kami berdua. Salam kepada isteri dananak-anak drp kami di sini. Insyaallah tak ada aral melintang akn cuba pulang tak lama lagi.

Chet said...

Kak Teh - now I know, not that it's 070707, but your beautiful beautiful love story!

Kak Teh said...

chet, thank you and lama tak jumpa! Hope you are keeping well.